Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Valentine Reality

Confession: Sometimes I plot a Facebook or Instagram post about a moment before that moment ever happens.

I know I'm not alone in this. You might be nodding your head, agreeing that you're guilty of this social media crime, too. Or you know of some show-offy mom whose life is nowhere near as picture-perfect-filtered as the pictures you see in your feed. (It's like she wakes up with make-up! And her kids wake up singing!)

Anyway.

My husband had been traveling for two weeks. He arrived home in the middle of the night, early on the morning of Valentine's Day. My three kids and I had thought it'd be fun to make homemade pasta as a family for Valentine's Day dinner. The four of us had made it about a month before and had a great time getting messy and slurping up every single noodle we made with our own hands.

Perhaps I should give you a head's up that my husband prefers to become one with the sofa during dinner prep and that chaos is not welcome in his aura and that my older son's nascent table manners are one of his biggest pet peeves in his life?

Still, I trudged onward with my plan. I thought I'll take a picture of all of us, making pasta and laughing together, and post "Food is love. And here are the people I love, making food together. My kitchen is full of love, and I'm so grateful." Or something hokey like that.

Great news! I got the picture!


Don't they look so happy to collaborate on this pasta? Can't you see the love?

Well, if you look closely at this picture, you can see where it all fell apart. My youngest son in the blue shirt, the one most obsessed with fairness within our family, is putting his palm where he thinks my husband's pasta should end. That line is clearly less than the length of my younger son's pasta. His big brother Ben's pasta is already longer than his, and his mood is fragile because we've waited too long for this perfect project and he's hungry and he's the third kid and fairly used to getting what he wants. Also, he's four.

Turns out, my husband's pasta was really, really long.

And that threw Kiefer into a pit of despair. He started crying and screaming and sobbing about how he wanted the longest pasta in the world. My husband and I had, I admit, not had the best day as a couple, so our nerves were already frayed. Our reservoir of patience for each other and for our kids was not teeming over. We took turns snapping at him and each other while also trying to console our son and joke him back to his normal jolly self.

By the time we sat down, my ever-enthusiastic daughter was really the only one holding us together. My older son's difficulty eating spaghetti neatly (what seven year old American boy can eat spaghetti neatly?!) inspired every-minute-on-the-minute reminders from my husband to "Chew with your mouth closed, BEN" or "Keep your lips together, BEN" or "BEN, what do you think I'm going to say to you?" or "BEN!"

The good news? The pesto I got for the occasion was really yummy and I tried to focus on that.

Okay, there's more than that. This Valentine's Day went by without any Facebook or Instagram post. And you know what? Who cares? Imperfect as we are, my husband and I are together and our family is eating and laughing and crying and working on manners together.

Happy Valentine's Day, all.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for your little slice of reality. After our day of skiing yesterday the evening went downhill. Undiscovered homework appeared, the skiing threw my husband's back out, much organization was needed for dinner and lunches to get prepared & cleaned up with the reno. All this can be wearing on everyone and relationships. It's so nice to see the reality of another family with three kids & know I'm not alone!

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    1. check back frequently--imperfection abounds around here!

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  2. I'm sure it was crazy and even a bit stressful, but you will remember this moment forever -- Instagram post or not. What fun! (really!!)

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  3. I love that you plotted beforehand how it would look and sound on Facebook/Instagram. Isn't it funny how social media has changed our lives in so many ways? I love that you brought out the reality behind the picture! Sounds like a very loving, real family.

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    1. We have some good, loving moments for sure!

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  4. What a great memory. Great that you have a picture that will show the history. Plans are made and then personalities come together and change the story. All families are like that.

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  5. What a great memory. Great that you have a picture that will show the history. Plans are made and then personalities come together and change the story. All families are like that.

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    1. I came from a family that smacked a smile on every situation--it's taken me years to accept that an emotion-filled house is normal. So your statement "All families are like that" is totally true and still a bit profound for me!

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  6. Great post! It'll be a great memory when you're kids are older. They'll tease your youngest, "Remember that time when you threw a fit because you wanted the biggest pasta in the world?" And that'll be the beginning where they'll go down memory lane. Happens every Christmas at our house and I'm in my fifties. :)

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    1. ha ha! yes, I guess we're just getting warmed in many ways, especially things to tease (lovingly) about!

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  7. Someday, after the kids are grown, you & your husband will be alone for Valentine's Day, look back on this one and laugh.

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  8. Absolutely refreshing...and honest. So honest, it's perfect! Love that whole family; laughing, crying, pasta-making; it's real life. xoxo

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  9. This post made me laugh out loud! I loved it. You captured the humor of the situation perfectly. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into this real (and priceless) family moment.

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  10. Your piece made me laugh. I love the story behind the photograph! We have had a lot of these in my family too! I think you and your husband deserve a non-Valentine date night for surviving the great pasta event!

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  11. Your piece made me laugh. I love the story behind the photograph! We have had a lot of these in my family too! I think you and your husband deserve a non-Valentine date night for surviving the great pasta event!

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  12. Your piece made me laugh. I love the story behind the photograph! We have had a lot of these in my family too! I think you and your husband deserve a non-Valentine date night for surviving the great pasta event!

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